Rics told to reverse exclusions

June 29, 2001

An independent review has ordered the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to reinstate all the universities that appealed against its controversial decision to remove their accreditation.

There was dismay earlier this year when Rics announced that 15 institutions that it accredited would not be accepted under its new partnership arrangements.

Seven universities - Brighton, Cardiff, Central England, Central Lancashire, Luton, Paisley and Westminster - appealed against failing to become partners. De Montfort and the University of the West of England appealed against the loss of accreditation for certain courses.

The independent panel ruled that the universities deserved more time to prove they could meet the new Rics criteria, since these had been refined and developed during the review process.

A spokesperson for the Rics said it had committed itself to accepting the panel's findings "without reservation" and had offered the seven universities immediate partnership status.

The two others have won accreditation for the threatened courses. Louis Armstrong, chief executive of Rics, said: "We needed a fast and non-adversarial way to review those courses not initially granted partnership status... We wanted to ensure that we could promote all partner universities for entry in 2002."

Rics has defended its changes in criteria for partnership as a means of driving up professional standards. But its stipulation that three-quarters of entrants must achieve 17 A-level points or equivalent has been criticised as running counter to widening access.

Peter Knight, vice-chancellor of the University of Central England, said:

"I am deeply concerned that the criteria adopted by Rics will oblige the university to exclude able and committed applications."

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